Blue Flower

The Little Mill visitor centre was designed and built in 2018 by the volunteers in the style of the original mill building based on historic pictures which show how it looked. Built on a steel frame with wooden floor & walls and a felt shingle roof, it replaces the storage containers previously used and complements the railway wagon which is being retained as a kitchen and volunteer room. The new building was funded by a Tesco Bags of Help grant, Tesco have supported the bone mill for several years by donating items for volunteers, open days and allowing staff to help us.

The main area of the new building is a museum telling the history of the bone mill, displaying items found during archaeological digging of the site including bones, nails, knives, coins and pieces of machinery. Also displayed are photos of the restoration work, historic pictures and documents. A model made by David Turner of how the river and mill would have looked in its working days is displayed on open days, as well as exhibits about the river and maltings from the Heritage Centre which closed in 2016. The human skull bone found at the mill is also displayed in the building. There was a workshop / store room and extra storage in the roof space. 

The Little Mill is classed as a temporary building, the base, wall and roof sections were made at The Maltings. It was taken to the mill by fitting wheels and a tow hitch to the steel base and towing it with a tractor. The wheels were then removed and it was assembled and finished on site. 

The walls are insulated and a solar panel provides power for lighting, operated by old fashioned switches. An original building tie found by Reo with his metal detector and an old pulley shaft donated by Ozzie have been incorporated into the building. A waterwheel clock made by Reo’s mum, Kay, hangs on the wall of the museum. 

The visitor centre is used on open days when the public can visit and volunteer days when walkers on the Nar Valley Way can cross our footbridge and join us for tea and a tour of the site. As part of our Green Community Grant we now have display screens in the visitor centre to show videos and slideshows of the water wheel turning and our model mill, as these are only available on open days, so visitors at all other times can see the videos, and on open days the screen has slideshows of the restoration of the mill. In summer 2022 displays were re-arranged to give more space by removing the trestle table and putting displays on the walls and illuminated shelves from our Green Community Grant. On 2/11/22 Solar Panels were fitted on the roof to power the displays.

In 2022 a shed was built onto the visitor centre in the style of the building joined onto the main mill, as shown in the model. The same feather edge cladding as the visitor centre was used on a timber frame, but the rest of the shed was made from re-used materials including RSJs for the base, OSB boards for door and side panels, and slates on the roof which match the building it is based on, all the re-used materials came from The Maltings.

The shed was made by Fred with the volunteers helping under his guidance, it will be used for storing garden tools. The shed cladding will soon mellow and match the visitor centre. The extra space in the shed allows us to use the old store room in the visitor centre for more displays, including finds discovered while digging the wildflower area. The shed is part of the Wildflower Meadow project and has allowed the old green container to be removed from site, giving a better view.

Graham Bartlett           Interactive Plan     Railway Wagon      Mill History     Model Mill      Blog 28/4/18

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